Ever contemplate a rainbow? The yellow is always easy to spot as it has the most glow. Orange, red, green, blue and violet all play a role in defining the rainbow, but yellow occupies the bright, bridging, critically central spot. In the rainbow’s case, the middle is sublime.
Centrists are undervalued—they are misconceived as a diluted blend of both sides.
National political pundits typically paint the two dominant parties red and blue (which is in itself fine). They then paint the middle as purple, a color made by mixing red and blue, this is where they go astray. In the rainbow, purple is situated outside of both red and blue. The middle is yellow, an altogether different color, made up of independent thinkers.
Independent minds shine very brightly, wielding great influence in their ability to tip the scales in favor of one idea, issue or candidate over another. Independents hold the key to political sway. In national elections, less than 20% of the states are comprised of enough centric thinking people to have an impact on presidential elections.
In marketing, like politics, centrists offer the key to a successful campaign.
Marketers know that numbers and reach matter. They seek the central sector within their audience to tailor their pitch. If they can reach the central bulk of their audience, they not only reach the most people, they usually achieve more significant positioning. From there they can build greater influence with fewer dollars. Who doesn’t want to spend less to reach a greater audience? Finding the middle is a major key toward achieving just that.
The middle will be different for different products and services and it will change depending on who your audience is. Still, within any given group there is always a middle, and that middle is almost always the ideal target.
An old marketing adage advises promoters to go fishing where the fish are biting. Where the fish are biting represents the center for placing your lure. You may not discover new areas to fish that way, but you can catch more fish, thereby building reserves to explore new fishing hot spots later.
The middle is the optimal approach to developing most creative marketing strategies,concepts and content as well.
When building a strategy, if you focus only on gathering information to establish your mark, you are not likely to come up with an approach that grabs attention. If you focus only on developing an approach that grabs attention, your idea may be off the mark. It takes both -- the confluence of what is rational and what is inspired. Basing your strategy on the directions and limitations indicated by research while developing a creative, effective, head-turning approach that motivates action—that is the central, pinnacle point where a marketing strategy excels.
A great way to find, or at least move toward the middle, is through consensus. By seeking consensus, new concepts and designs can be selected with increased credibility. Most people in marketing have experienced the dismay of a “great idea” not working. The appreciative audience may have been too small; the delivery channel ineffective; the idea too complicated to comprehend quickly; or any number of other reasons.
Through market tests and surveys, many fiascos can and have been avoided. The bigger the initiative, the more upfront research and testing is apt to pay off. That said, even a small endeavor can benefit greatly from seeking several people’s opinions prior to settling on the final wording, design or initiative.
A campaign is not simply launched and left alone. It must be nurtured.
Marketers do not perfectly hit the center mark despite their best of efforts. Hence, mechanisms are set up to derive data from results. Data can be analyzed and campaigns can be adjusted based upon that data. Even if the data cannot be directly derived, there are various ways (such as verbal feedback and an increase in interest) to get a handle on a campaign’s success. Smart marketers are always looking for ways to hone in on your mark.
Never forget the significance of the centrist.
Outside of the rainbow, the middle is often undervalued. It can be associated with average or the middle of the road. It’s not that exciting. It can appear indecisive. It can seem as the same old, same old. Don’t be fooled.
Are you a middle child? A political centrist? A person who bridges friends with opposing views? The marketeer that strives to find the perfect tactical balance? Well, thank goodness for you! After all, the brightest part of the rainbow is the middle!